Flamengo beat Boavista 1-0 in the final of the Guanabara Cup – part one of the Rio State Championships. The match was an all-round uninspiring affair which was settled by a moment of magic from Ronaldinho. For an explanation of the Rio State Championship, check here.
In another one of Vanderlei Luxemburgo’s stranger tactical decisions, Ronaldinho was deployed on his own up front with out of form striker Deivid on the bench. The decision unsurprisingly wasn’t working out and Flamengo, despite dominating possession, were unable to create any clear changes against a modest Boavista team. Botinelli and Thiago Neves were careless in possession in midfield and Ronaldinho was being isolated up front, unable to get into the game. On the other hand, Boavista were unable to counter-attack with any purpose and Flamengo were comfortable in defence. The rhythm of the game was not being helped with the thermometers hitting 42 degrees.
Flamengo improved ever so slightly in the second half with the introduction of Negueba for the hapless Botinelli at half time. Diego Maurício followed soon after, coming on for Egídio to try and add some cutting edge. The opportunities failed to come though and with Flamengo fans starting to get irritated, it was left to the magical right boot of Ronaldinho to put things straight with a curling free kick twenty minutes into the second half.
His goal was followed by some dancing and tomfoolery with Flamengo players getting ready to party hard in the carnival next week. For the first time in his life, Ronaldinho will not have to fake an injury in order to return to Brazil and join the party.
After the goal, you could have closed your eyes and gone to sleep and not missed a thing. Flamengo sat back, Boavista created nothing and there was some handbags which resulted in a red card for Boavista striker Frontini. Uninspiring and boring. Flamengo don’t care though and neither does Ronaldinho.
Ronaldinho has struggled for form since joining Flamengo. He has been played out of position and Flamengo have lacked fluency in their play despite picking up results with consistency. Could this trophy, thanks to Ronaldinho’s right boot. be the catalyst for some improved performances by him and Flamengo I wonder? Any thoughts?